Skip to main content
SearchLoginLogin or Signup

Influence of Titan’s Variable Electromagnetic Environment on the Global Distribution of Energetic Neutral Atoms

Presentation #215.09D in the session Planetary Space Physics Talks (Oral Presentation)

Published onOct 23, 2023
Influence of Titan’s Variable Electromagnetic Environment on the Global Distribution of Energetic Neutral Atoms

We combine the electromagnetic fields from a hybrid plasma model with a particle tracing tool to study the spatial distribution of energetic neutral atoms (ENAs) emitted from Titan’s atmosphere when the moon is exposed to different magnetospheric upstream regimes. These ENAs are generated when energetic magnetospheric ions undergo charge exchange within Titan’s atmosphere. The spatial distribution of the emitted ENA flux is largely determined by the parent ions’ trajectories through the draped fields in Titan’s interaction region. Since images from the ENA detector aboard Cassini captured only a fraction of the ENA population, we provide context for such observations by calculating maps of the ENA flux through a spherical detector concentric with Titan. We determine the global distribution of ENA emissions and constrain deviations between the locations of ENA production and detection. We find that the ENA flux is highest in a band that encircles Titan perpendicular to the ambient magnetospheric field, which was strictly perpendicular to the moon’s orbital plane during only one Cassini flyby. The field line draping strongly attenuates the emitted ENA flux, but does not alter the overall morphology of the detectable flux pattern. The majority of detectable ENAs leave Titan’s atmosphere far from where they are produced, i.e., even a spacecraft located directly above the moon’s atmosphere would detect ENAs generated beyond its immediate environment. Some energetic parent ions produce ENAs only after they are mirrored by the field perturbations in Titan’s wake and return to the moon, demonstrating the complex histories of detectable ENAs.

Comments
0
comment
No comments here